It is the 40th century. The United Kingdom is one of 5 superpowers among the dozens of human nations spread throughout colonised space. Controlling a total 165 primary systems and 200 secondary systems, with a population of 868,000,000,000, the UK is second to none and the foremost power of human civilisation. It is a hereditary constitutional monarchy headed by a Monarch, governed by a Prime Minister responsible to the National Parliament. The country is also known to have one of the most robust legal systems with a long-standing tradition of judicial independence under Common Law.
With a culture and institutions that strongly respects history and tradition, the UK is home to the Museum of Humanity, a semi-private organisation with vast resources dedicated to the record of human progress and history. The people of the Kingdom are of various planetary origins with all colonial subjects granted full-citizenship and voting rights. As a signatory to the London Accords, slavery is outlawed throughout the Kingdom with the paramilitary MI4 dedicated to the covert eradication of slavery and the slave trade outside the Kingdom.
Due to the fact that the death penalty was abolished some 1900 years ago and continues to remain so, tens of thousands of foreign criminals yearly flee to within the Kingdom's boundaries and, under a technicality in the International Colonisation Accords, are sent to prison colonies instead of being extradited - this treatment of foreign criminals is common in other nations also.
Though commonly held to be the greatest superpower among humanity, the Empire does not have the largest military force (possessed by the Fujarah Caliphate, a militaristic Islamic state). However, it is recognised by experts to have the most technologically advanced military force with the greatest power projection capabilities. The British military consists of 3 branches - Army (planetside combat), Marines (planet-space combat), and Navy (space combat).
The United Kingdom is a federal constitutional monarchy divided into provinces, territories, and colonies. The Federal government exercises its powers to rule on behalf of the monarch, who in turn derives his or her legitimacy simultaneously from God and from "the citizens of Britain". As is stated in the Constitution, "[...] may the monarch of the United Kingdom rule on behalf of God and with the permission of the people [...]".
- Legislative Branch: The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the tricameral legislature of the United Kingdom. The product of centuries of evolution, Parliament transformed from a gathering of medieval lords to a bicameral legislature representing the people as well as nobility, and then to a tricameral legislature upon federation.
- House of Lords: The Upper House of Parliament, the House of Lords is also the weakest with its primary function being the power of veto of legislation from the lower houses. Even then, the House can only veto a Bill twice before it is assumed to have been passed by the House. Members of the House of Lords (known as Peers) consist of the Monarch, the Prince of Whales (heir apparent), 15% clergy of the Church of England, and the remainder are appointed by the Monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister. Peers serve until age 77.
- House of Federation: The Middle House of Parliament, the House of Federation is also the newest house and was created upon the federation of the United Kingdom many centuries ago. The responsibilities of this House are complex, but primarily focus on provincial and territorial rights, and matters of the Federation. Members are known as Senators and are elected by their provincial or territorial legislature. 3 Senators are allocated to each province and territory. Senators serve a maximum of two 6-year terms.
- House of Commons: The Lower House of Parliament, the House of Commons is the largest house by far and is responsible for most legislation including matters of finance, war, and general legislation. The Government Executive is also drawn from this House. Members of the House are known simply as Members of Parliament (MPs) and are elected for an indefinite number of 5-year terms, with disqualification at age 77. Elections are held via 3-member geographic districts with an STV vote.
- Executive Branch: His/Her Majesty's Government is the executive of the nation, led by the Prime Minister whom is head of government. The PM is appointed by the Monarch and is he/her who can command the confidence of a majority of the Commons (either by party majority or coalition). The PM must also select Ministers from within the ranks of the House of Commons who will together form the Cabinet and head various Ministries. Four of these positions are permanent - Chancellor of the Exchequer, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Home Affairs, and Minister of Defence.
- Judicial Branch: The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United Kingdom and is the final authority on all judicial judgements, including those of a constitutional nature. The Court consists of 7 Chief Justices whom are nominated by the Prime Minister and appointed by the Monarch on the recommendation of the House of Commons. The Chief Justices serve until age 77 and are led by the High Lord of the Supreme Court, a member of the Court whom is elected (by and from within the Court itself) to lead the Court.
Provinces, Territories, Colonies
The United Kingdom is a federal constitutional monarchy divided into provinces, territories, and colonies. A province is a constituent political entity that shares sovereignty with the federal government (not unlike an American state) and governs between 1 and 20 systems. Though the province is the fundamental constituent unit of the federation, in practice the heavily devolved provincial governments mean that system governments and planetary governments are generally responsible for the day to day administration of their area though the provinces reserve the right to command provincial guards and law enforcement, and the majority of laws passed are on the provincial level.
Territories, unlike provinces, do not share sovereignty with the federal government. Instead, they are granted partial sovereignty at the pleasure of the monarch (under the advice of the federal government). In effect, while the provinces are federal constituencies, the territories are devolved administrations and derive legitimacy from the federal government. Territories are generally considered to be the transitional state-of-government between the status of colony and province. Territories generally govern between 1 and 20 systems as well.
Colonies represent the smallest level of governmental authority directly below the federal government and posses no sovereignty whatsoever. Colonial governments consist of an appointed governor as executive, with legislatures of varying composition (there is no specification for a colonial legislature in the Constitution). Some larger colonies have part appointed (by the governor) part elected legislatures, while other colonies have entirely elected legislatures or entirely appointed legislatures. Some colonies have no legislatures at all. Colonies may be made territories by the federal government alone.
His Majesty's Armed Forces are divided into three service branches - the Royal Marines, the British Army, and the Royal Navy. Of the three, the British Army is the only one where the consent of Parliament is necessary for its continued existence, with the other two falling solely under the purview of the Executive (in practice, this is the Cabinet). All service members swear loyalty to the Crown and the Country. Soldiers of the Army also swear loyalty to the people of Britain in addition to the Crown and Country. At present, the British Armed Forces is the second most funded military in the world, and is considered at the forefront of military technology and power projection capabilities. There are currently 300,000,000 active duty personnel under peacetime conditions.
With the return to a more ceremonial air, military music has come to be a major component of the British Armed Forces. Each branch possesses a Song and a March, with the latter traditional played by each branch's own marching band at parades as an anthem for their branch, and the former played by orchestra's in honour of the fallen and those still serving.
Additionally, each province has the right to raise its own Provincial Guard, which may be divided into a maximum of three service branches - the Terrestrial Corps, the Marine Corps, and the Navy Corps (which is generally a light navy service, sometimes called a Space Corps). Most Provincial Guards combine the functions of their Marine Corps and Terrestrial Corps under one branch or the other due to smaller numbers of service personnel. The combined troop count of the various Provincial Guards comes up to around 200,000,000. This brings the total Armed Forces of the United Kingdom up to 500,000,000 during peacetime.
By far the oldest branch of the Armed Forces, the Army is made up of the Ground Force (Groundsmen), Sea Force (Seamen), and Air Force (Airmen); though the latter two are dependant on whether a colonised planetary body has oceans and/or an atmosphere. Tracing its heritage all the way back to the original British Army (ground force) of the United Kingdom on Earth, the Army grew to encompass all of Britain's terrestrial services as the British Space Force was rechristened the Royal Navy. The Army consists of 110,000,000 soldiers based across the nation's planets and moons, with army divisions specialising in various different planetary terrains.
The second oldest branch of the Armed Forces, the Royal Navy finds its origins in the original British Space Force of the United Kingdom on Earth. It is headquartered at the capital, New London on the capital world New Britain. Fielding well over 100,000 spaceships (including 80 Ranger-class asteroid mother-ships capable of housing up to 40 capital ships each), over 20,000,000 light-fighters, and around 100,000,000 swarm drones. the Royal Navy is widely considered the most powerful navy in the world, though other nations' navies are seen as either more advanced or larger, the Royal Navy comes out on top as a whole. The Navy consists of 100,000,000 sailors based in and around the nation's planets, moons, ports, and shipyards.
The youngest branch of the Armed Forces, the Royal Marines grew out of the Navy Infantry that served aboard Navy ships during the early centuries of the United Kingdom's interstellar expansion. Eventually they were made an independent branch of the Armed Forces with their own bases and craft, allowing them to specialise in invasion tactics and space-planet warfare. Nonetheless, the Naval Infantry branch of the Marines continue to serve on board Naval ships across the country. The Marines consist of 90,000,000 Marines.